Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Seishin Shinkeigaku Zasshi. 2013;115(7):729-39.

[A case of anorexia nervosa with severe physical complications resulting in long-term hospitalization].

[Article in Japanese]

Author information

  • 1Department of Psychiatry, Jichi Medical School.


We report the case of a woman in her late twenties with anorexia nervosa who was difficult to treat both psychologically and physically because she resisted being treated despite presenting with various and severe physical complications, such as a refractory tracheoesophageal fistula. On admission, she weighed 24.8 kg and her body mass index was 9.6 kg/m2. Treatment on a medical ward was not possible due to her resistance to being fed and repeated secretive and deviant behaviors. Therefore, she was treated mainly on a psychiatric ward, with a psychiatrist as the attending doctor. After hospitalization for more than 3 years, she had sufficiently recovered to leave the hospital. She was discharged weighing 37.7 kg and her body mass index was 14.5 kg/m2. As physical complications, the patient manifested with a tracheoesophageal fistula, duodenal bulb perforation, and tension pneumothorax, which were considered to reflect the vulnerability of the intrapleural and intraperitoneal soft tissue. She also manifested with lower limb edema, pulmonary edema, pleural effusion, overreaction to a diuretic, dehydration, and hypernatremia, which were considered to reflect the disturbances of water balance. As seen in this case, a patient with anorexia nervosa who resists being fed, even though treatment of the physical complications requires an improved nutritional status above all, may require treatment on a psychiatric ward even at the risk of providing less than ideal care for the physical complications. We discuss "medical psychiatry" as a model for treating anorexia nervosa patients with severe physical complications. In this concept of "medical psychiatry", it is the most important that staff on the psychiatric ward take an interest in and have concerns about the patient's physical complications. If the psychiatrist as the attending doctor actively and continuously participates in the treatment of physical complications, it should be possible to create a treatment plan that, although complex due to its multidisciplinary nature, is followed smoothly and consistently, and, therefore, provide patients with trustworthy and appropriate medical treatment.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk